It’s easy to write off our teens’ experience as “drama”. Teens can be very dramatic. What we don’t often see as parents is that our teens’ “drama” can actually be “trauma,” causing deep suffering in their mental and spiritual health. Commonly, childhood and teenage trauma quickly turns into addiction or other mental health issues. New research from Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests it could take years for issues to manifest. Though the study only focused on women, it revealed that the effects of trauma in teenage years can take time to develop. 243 women were studied from about the age of 35 for the next 16 years. Throughout the study, women were regularly tested for mood and cognition in addition to hormone measurement. At the end of the study, the women gave information about the stress and trauma they experienced in both childhood and adolescence. Forbes explains that “Most of the women’s traumas had occurred before they went through puberty, and involved emotional abuse, living with someone with addiction, and parental separation or divorce.” Women who experienced two or more traumatic events were twice as likely to experience major depression during their late 30’s to late 40’s and during their experience with menopause. Interestingly, the article cites, the women “…weren’t any more likely to have experienced depression earlier in life.” Menopause is the second major shift in hormones women must face, not including the many hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy. For men and women alike, suppressed emotions and untreated traumatic experiences show up at any phase in life through depression, anxiety, PTSD, and frequently addiction issues. One answer for the finding in the studies is that as a child matures into an adult, their stress responses change, slighted by the traumatic experiences. Some people can stave off the effects until something like a significant hormonal shift triggers their emotions. “As far as what can be done to sever the tie between early life stress and mid-life depression,” the article writes, “treating the early stuff as soon as possible is probably the key.” Treating childhood trauma and stress later in life is helpful in those who do not develop maladaptive forms of coping like addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, and other issues. By mid-life, many problems might already have been caused. “It’s generally more effective to deal with the trauma and re-regulate the stress response earlier on.”
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center is committed to helping teens and adolescents build a foundation for their lives, rooted in faith and recovery. Our residential treatment programs focus on creating life skills and development while healing mind, body, and soul. For more information, call us today at 662-598-4214.